Jim Hoft reported last night that Ohio voters voted to approve Issue 1 Tuesday night, which legalized abortion up until the moment of birth. At the same time, Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved Issue 2, which gives them the “right” to smoke marijuana.
Protecting the unborn is too much to ask for Buckeye State voters but smoking weed like Snoop Dogg is just fine.
This makes Ohio the 24th state in the U.S. to legalize marijuana for recreational use and continues a trend of victories for pot smokers even in allegedly conservative states. The drug is also legal in Washington, D.C.
Cannabis is also permitted for medical use in 38 states. The drug remains illegal altogether at the federal level though the law is almost never enforced.
The citizen-initiated statute will allow adults over 21 to possess up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana and grow up to six pot plants. The measure also creates a new government agency called the Division of Cannabis Control, which will set up and regulate the marijuana market.
The regulations also give existing medical operators the first opportunity on the adult-use market, but also allows licensing additional operators depending on market needs as Politico notes.
Marijuana will be taxed at a 10% rate. A report from Ohio State University estimates that legal marijuana will generate roughly $300 million a year in revenue for the Buckeye State.
While sales for legal marijuana are scheduled to start in 30 days, the Republican-controlled state legislature may launch a protracted legislative fight over the amendment. This will likely delay implementation.
In fact, there is a possibility the state legislature could repeal it altogether because the statute is a referendum and not a constitutional amendment.
Some alterations are likely to be in store. Republican Senate President Matt Huffman said before Election Day he would seek to make a number of changes, including targeting a provision that would set aside 36% of cannabis tax revenues for a “social equity and jobs fund.”
Huffman also told the Associated Press via a text sent by his spokesperson that state lawmakers may also reconsider “questionable language” regarding limits on THC, the compound that gives marijuana its high.
This statute was written by the marijuana industry and should not be treated as a cash grab for their cash crop at the expense of a state trying to emerge from the opioid epidemic.